Father’s Day – Learning How To Be a Good Dad
The very abbreviated version.
Happy Father’s Day to every Dad out there. FYI, we’re all work in progress!
Golf & Being a Father
I compare being a Father to the game of Golf. Like golf, it takes a bit of patience and practice to be any good. The other part is, I’ll never master it, it’s impossible to master!
Father’s Day for me is often a time of reflection. It’s not easy but well worth the time and effort. I have been very blessed!
Getting on with my short story version, let’s just say I’ve been working at the role of fatherhood for a while, since 1984. My story is not comings from the position of “I’ve done everything correctly (because I haven’t).” I’m approaching my story from a position of having had the privilege?” Yes, I FEEL PRIVILEGED! It is a great learning experience, every day!
Fatherhood didn’t come naturally at first, in fact, I was clueless! All of my adult children to this day, tell me they love me, so I guess I’ll say I’ve done okay!
Being Call Dad, Padre, Papa, Papi, Dubs or even Fasha is great. It makes me smile every time my kiddo’s, or one of their friends, refer to me by these names. In fact, early on I learned how very important the title of “Dad” was to me. I was the only Dad my kids were going ever to have, period, ME I’m it, end of story…well, we’ll get to that story later, it’s funny on my daughter…
So when I said clueless, I meant clueless! When my oldest son was born, I arrived at the hospital just in time to see them wheeling my wife down the hallway to the birthing room. Her best friend was at her side, and I still remember the glare she gave me… wow, those eyes said it all “Where the Hell Have You Been!” You see, I had been there all morning, but it seemed like it was going to be awhile and I had things to do, work things, right? Well… No, I had a tee time, and I just didn’t want to miss it. I thought I could play golf and be back in time; no one will even know… I WAS CLUELESS!
Becoming a Father
I was lucky to have been a part of my oldest son’s birth. I did almost miss it… That day was the beginning of my long road to understanding that “Life is Not All About ME”! Witnessing the birth of a child is a very incredible experience; it was truly that pivotal moment in my life (FYI – I’ve had a few).
Moving along… over the next seven years, I had the privilege of witnessing the birth of my youngest son and my only daughter. Each one of their births created a very special bond. These precious souls were just beginning their life’s journey, and I was going to be a part of it; I was their DAD!
Just some history. Growing up, I associated the words Dad or Father with very negative terms like an a-hole, SOB, POS or Bully, so I had never even considered being one, the thought never crossed my mind… again clueless!
Well, after my daughter was born, my wife and I went through the divorce. Being, Dad became even more Important! I wanted to be Dad, a great Dad! I began to understand what being a Father was all about and how a Father needed to act! It was time to accept the responsibility and role of Fatherhood. I chose to be fully involved!
I was not going to be one of those disconnected fools, showing up once a week for visitations. I was not going to be an “every other weekend” guy they called Dad (with hesitation)! I wanted to be their DAD?” Time to grow up! Imagine being 37 years old and realizing that you still haven’t grown up! It was time to start walking the talk. I wanted to be involved… I wanted to be a part of their lives; I wanted to watch them grow up and help them navigate through their lives. Great Dad’s do this with their kids!
Being a Long Distance Not an Absent Single Father
As things progressed, my ex-wife decided to move back to her home state so that she could be around the support of family and friends (given the fact that we had been following my dream when we moved away). Now her decision to move turned my world upside down! Hell, I had just started to realize how important being a Father was! Yeah, I was slow to this realization, but at this point, it was not about me. I had messed up, and the fiddler had come to get paid. Let’s just say, “The Wakeup Call Came.” My new reality SUCKED!!!!!
Time to Go, it’s Airport Day
Going to the airport to see my little one off was horrible. It’s like it happened yesterday! My mini-mes were leaving; they were moving over 3,000 miles away. My heart broke that morning, I mean it was one of the hardest days of my life. To this day it pains me to think about it. In hindsight, the hardest part of this whole ordeal was that I’d caused this! My actions brought on this pain, and the pain my oldest son was feeling! My youngest ones (ages 1 1/2 and 4) were just too young to understand, heck they couldn’t wait to get on the big jet plane, they were going to Grandma & Grandpa’s house.
Thank God it’s has been over 20 years, and there was some light at the end of the tunnel!
New Phase of My Fatherhood Journey
The picture at the top of this blog post was in 1994, my first trip to see my youngsters. We went camping and fishing in the Uinta Mountains. It was a great time, lots of memories made, and confirmation that Pops was never going to be far away. Affirmation that Dad was always going to be there for them, no matter how far apart we lived. The cell phones and the internet made my life, and our being apart, doable. We talked almost every day!
Now to all you new Father’s out there, please pay attention. Being a Dad is the greatest privilege there is. Being a part of the innocence your children bring into this world can provide a “Center of Balance” for your own life. I learned what unconditional love is, and how powerful it can be. It provides you with things like “self-awareness and “self-empowerment.” It drives one to improve one’s self. It can help you be the BETTER YOU! Without it, I was just another lost fool!
Value of the Title “Dad” – Funny on My Daughter
As to the funny on my daughter, after her mom remarried my daughter referred to her mom’s new husband as “Dad.” Well, shortly afterward I was visiting, and one of her brothers made sure to tell me what she had done and acted as if she was going to get into big trouble. (You know how siblings are). Anyway, when I looked over at my daughter (she was three-ish), and she had this look on her face like OMG, this is baaaaddddd! She got her big lip on (that’s her go to face, still does it), and she looked straight down at the floor. I had to smile at the drama that was about to unfold, but to my credit, I took this opportunity to explain to her my feelings:
- Sweetie, I’m Your Dad, and I am the only Father you will ever have or need.
- Your Mom’s new husband has a name, you can call him by that name, this will be fine!
- You see, I love being Your Dad! I want you to know that being your Dad, being called Dad, means the world to me!
- I don’t want to share this title “Dad” with anyone…
Let’s just say she understood the best she could at such a young age, but I believe it never happened again… to this day we still laugh about this, and all the events that led up to it.
Present Days of Still Being Their Dad
Jumping forward to the current day, my three kids and I have, what I deem to be, relationships that I only could wish for every parent out there! Built on LOVE, RESPECT, and APPRECIATION.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of great stories we have shared over the years, but we will leave it here.
NO, the last 20 plus years haven’t been perfect, but that decision to earn the privilege and right to be called their “Father,” in the airport that morning long ago, was the best decision I’ve ever made! To this very day, it serves me well. It makes me happy every day, even those days when life is not so great! I get up every day knowing that I have three great kids that have grown up to be wonderful adults. They each make the world they live in, and the people they come in contact with, better!
I say to my Kiddos; “You Are Awesome Human Beings… you are the best! It has been my great privilege to have each of you call me Father, Dad, Papa, Padre, Daddy, Pops, Fasha and even Papa Dub!!!!!”
The photo above is My three kids and Me, taken on my Daughter’s Wedding Day in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico November 2016. It was one of my most favorite trips with my kids; the word perfection comes to mind!
Our get together’s always great, no matter how long it has been since we last saw each other, it’s always as if it was yesterday. Awesome!!!!!!
Proud to be their Papa Dub.